Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research

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Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research

Certificates Clinical Research Intro Row Copy with CTA

The Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research curriculum of 12 credits includes courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, health services research and statistical analysis computing.

Courses are offered on weekday evenings, enabling the student to continue work activity and engage in clinical and health services research coursework.

The course sequence begins each fall semester.

Completion of the certificate is excellent preparation for continuing in the Master of Science in Clinical Research degree.

All students must submit an application through The Graduate School.

Certificates Clinical Research Basic Content

Non-Degree Student Status

All certificate candidates are considered non-degree students. Up to 12 Penn State course credits acquired as a non-degree certificate candidate may be applied toward fulfillment of graduate degree requirements.

Please see details about requirements and access for non-degree students.

Admission Requirements

For admission to the certificate program, an applicant must hold either:

  • a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution; or
  • a postsecondary degree that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution.

International Applicants

International applicants must have a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree.

This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

Additionally, all international applicants must meet the Graduate School’s English proficiency requirements.

How to Apply

Complete the application and submit materials online to the Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research at the Hershey campus via the The Graduate School at Penn State.

In addition to the application, you must submit:

  • One official transcript from all colleges/universities who granted a degree
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Resume/CV

Do not send transcripts directly to the program.

Key Dates

Applications will be accepted until July 1 of each year for entry that fall. Applicants applying after July 1 may be subject to limited course availability.


The Clinical Research certificate starts with three required core courses for nine credits, followed by three credits of the student’s choice from a large variety of graduate-level courses. This provides a custom clinical research education experience. Students must complete each course with a grade of B or better in order to receive the certificate.

The required courses are:

  • PHS 520 Principles of Biostatistics (three credits)
  • PHS 550 Principles of Epidemiology (three credits)
  • PHS 519 Patient-Centered Research (three credits)

Additional courses are selected from:

  • PHS 500 Research Ethics (one credit)
  • PHS 518 Scientific Communication (three credits)
  • PHS 521 Applied Biostatistics (three credits)
  • PHS 529 Biostatistical Computing for Public Health (one credit)
  • PHS 530 Principles of Health Services Research (two credits)
  • PHS 535 Quality of Care Measurement (three credits)
  • PHS 536 Health Survey Research Methods (three credits)
  • PHS 540 Decision Analysis (three credits)
  • PHS 551 Advanced Epidemiological Methods (three credits)
  • PHS 570 Health Economics and Economic Policy (three credits)
  • PHS 580 Clinical Trials: Design and Analysis (three credits)

See full course descriptions in the Penn State Graduate Bulletin.

Certificate coursework may be transferable to the Penn State College of Medicine Master of Science in Clinical Research degree program. Certificate program students who wish to have their certificate courses transferred toward the Penn State MS in Clinical Research degree must formally apply and be admitted to the Penn State MS in Clinical Research program. Admission as a certificate student neither guarantees nor implies subsequent admission to a degree program.

Contact Us

The Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research is a program of the Penn State College of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences.

If you have questions about the Clinical Research MS Program or Clinical Research MS certificate, please contact Shannon Tuininga at